CNET First Look
Magellan's SmartGPS plays nicely with your phoneThis portable navigator brings web-connected destination search and traffic to the dashboard via your phone's data plan.
-Hey, everybody. This is Antuan Goodwin, associate editor of Car Tech and GPS at CNET and I'm taking a look today at the Magellan's Smart GPS. Now, this portable navigation device aims to bridge the gap between hardware that fits on your dashboard and the internet which is connected to your smartphone that should probably be staying in your pocket while you drive. Now, the Smart GPS is a 5-inch screen device aside from the capacitive touchscreen which is glass like you would get on a Smartphone. There's not very much different here from your standard GPS device. It's basically a touchscreen on such in cup. You got your power on the top and a bunch of connections along the bottom here. There's also an interesting mobile capacitive home button that you'll use to get back to the map screen from anywhere in the interface. I kinda like that that's hardware and now software. You'll see that they've devoted a large chunk of the screen to these live updating smart squares. Now, you can show more of these squares by swiping the virtual jog wheel at the top to the right or show fewer of them by swiping to the left. You get 4 into default state up to 8 in the full screen and as few as zero. When you're driving, it also shrinks down to only show two, so you'll get more map display. You get everything from fuel prices to traffic flow data incidents and live updating tiles with information about nearby points of interest pulled from Yelp and Foursquare. When you flip out the full screen, you've also got things like weather updates, even an interesting little web browser here. I don't know if you actually wanna use that while you're driving but it can be good for finding destinations while you're parked. Now, all of this information is gonna be pulled from the internet via a Wi-Fi connection that's built in. So, when you pull into your drive way at the end of the day, it'll start pulling that information so that it'll be ready when you get in the car the next time and want to go. But, if you had a web-connected iPhone in your pocket, you can also use that. Here we've got the Magellan's Smart GPS app running on an Apple iPhone. This is an early alpha version that should be pretty indicative with what you'll expect when the app actually hits the market this summer that does give you a little bit of interesting live data [unk] traffic jam develops while you're on the road. You got your data coverage right here. The app can also be used for searching for destinations. You've got the-- familiar live tiles here, the same ones that you'll see on the device itself. And you also have the ability to search for destinations using the web connections. Once you've got a destination chosen, you can either sync it to Magellan's Cloud-based MiCloud service-- I'm not sure how to pronounce that. But it'll actually be stored in the cloud that you could pull down later using a Smart GPS device or you can send that destination directly to the Magellan's Smart GPS hardware over the Bluetooth connection for immediate navigation. The interesting thing there is that you can start searching for a destination before you even get in your car or at safe, and then when you hop in the car you can already have it sitting there waiting to go when you're ready to drive. Now, the last piece of the puzzle is Magellan's online interface that lets you access all of that MiCloud data. From any web-browser you can manage your favorites or add destinations to a wish list. You can even organize those destinations into a multi- stop trip and then optimize it so that you minimize the amount of driving that you gotta do. The retail price of the Magellan's Smart GPS hardware is about $349, that's kinda pricey but the interesting thing is that they tossing that MiCloud cloud-based syncing in for absolutely free. The Magellan's Smart GPS app is also free and that gives you some basic destination searching. You can open that up into a much more useful navigation app with some in-app purchases-- -350 feet at the hotel on the left-- -You can check out the full review of the Magellan's Smart GPS over on cnet.com to see exactly how this thing works once you get on the road. 'Til then, I'm Antuan Goodwin with cnet.com and we've taken a look at the Magellan's Smart GPS web-connected portable navigator.